Connections April 2016 - Christ Community

Christ Community Unveils New Priority Care Service

(from the Memphis Business Journal)

Christ Community Health Services is launching a new way to see patients at its newly opened Raleigh clinic.

Regular patients will now be able to receive priority care at the Raleigh location. Priority care allows patients to experience traditional primary care without an appointment. Regular patients who need to come in for medicine refills or for simple issues can come in and see their regular physician without having to wait to be worked into the schedule.

Lance Luttrell, COO of Christ Community Health Services, said the idea was launched by Martha Sanford, the lead physician at the Raleigh location. It will be launched as a pilot program at Raleigh and could be rolled out at other Christ Community locations after “a few tweaks.”

“With Christ Community, it was always really hard to get an appointment,” Luttrell said. "Now we’re trying to make a more predictable day (for our providers), but the books have gotten full. We’re creating a track for people to come in without having to go to the emergency department.”

Easing the strain of the emergency department at Methodist North Hospital was one of the reasons Christ Community opened in the Raleigh area. Educational initiatives will be provided to patients to let them know they can be seen at the clinic, and the clinic is launching a Community Health Navigator Program that will embed employees in the emergency department at Methodist. While Christ Community can’t redirect people from the emergency department, they can communicate with their regular patients.

“We can at least let them know about us,” Luttrell said. “The only way we’ll figure out why they went there as opposed to our clinic is by meeting them there. The patients appreciate it.”

In addition to priority care, Christ Community is working to integrate behavioral health into its Frayser location, another pilot program that could soon be expanded to other locations.

When patients present with symptoms that resemble a behavioral health issue, their physicians can do a “warm hand-off” to specialists. Because they’re already coming in to be seen for an issue, other health issues can be discussed as well.

“You’re addressing things in a way the patient is comfortable addressing them,” Luttrell said. “We don’t want them to end up in the emergency department when the doctors who know them are right in the community.”